Monday, July 9, 2012

A Reminder About Why I Lost Faith in the Christian Church

It's stories like this that just make me sick. So before I tell it I need you to understand I don't hate all of Christianity, all Christians or anything like that. But, I have very little faith left in the church as I know it. I've lived in 7 different states in the US and I've been to plenty of churches. At each new home (I've moved a total of 13 times now in the last 18 years) I had to church hunt and look for a decent church so there is no telling how many churches I've been to. I'm not telling you all of this from a lack of experience with the church. I live in what is known in the US as "The Bible Belt," named that because there is literally a church on every corner.

I also come from a family with more than its fair share of preachers. There are currently 3 preachers on my dad's side of the family and in my paternal grandfathers family (brothers and sisters) there were 5 preachers. Past that point I haven't researched.

My mom is quite active in the church. The church has its convictions that it stands by and so when my mother married my step-father about 20 years ago they couldn't even be members of this church because the church wouldn't accept anyone who had ever been divorced. They are members now but this church still has a long history of outcasting its own members. I apparently have been a recent victim.

I never joined this church. I never really liked this church. I only go out of respect for my mother. It makes her happy so I drag myself in there from time to time. However, after this incident I'm not sure I'll ever go back.

After being a struggling church for years they joined with a second church. So this brought in a whole lot of new people, all old by the way. I think I should also mention that the city this church is in is a very racist city. When segregation ended, this city was the last to actually follow the law. It's also named for a founding member of the KKK. (The town, not the church!) I abhore racism. Actually I'm not sure the word abhore is even strong enough to label how I feel about racism and I felt this way long before I ever met hubby.

Okay, I'm getting side-tracked. Before I go off on a tangent I better get on with my story. I first visited the church for a Wednesday night dinner service. A girl's gotta eat right? So we sat through a very boring after dinner guide. The preacher was sick so one of the little old ladies skimmed over some articles in the latest WMU magazine. I sat right next to this other little old lady who seemed nice and shared her magazine with me since I didn't have one. This woman turned out to be my mother's Sunday School teacher.

Sunday, I went back to church. I sat through Sunday School which was okay but still boring. (It wasn't this boring before India but I was in a young womans class then. The old lady classes are much harder to sit through. All the women were 65+ and that's just whole different level than I'm on.) Then came the doozy that just killed me to hear.

I was half way paying attention when I heard this little old lady (the Sunday School teacher) say that God had told the Isrealites not to marry foreign spouses. Okay. I know this part of the bible but the way she said the word "foreign" piqued my interest. Then she went on to say that if you were married to a foreign spouse that your tithes weren't worth much to God. She used words and tones to indicate she meant currently, then as well as now. She said God still didn't want us mixing races and mentioned the unequally yoked scripture to back up her claim. Another old lady called her out and told her that is not what the scripture was saying and they got into an argument about it before the second old lady just got quiet and let it go.

Then the woman speaking went on to say that God doesn't intend for anyone to marry outside of their race, etc. etc. etc. By that point I was already irritated enough I couldn't hear her anymore. I know what the scripture says. Yes, Jesus said that their blood line was to remain pure. However, God used quite a few intercultural couples in the bible. This is one thing that growing up with so many preachers taught me. You must know the bible. If for no other reason than someone else is going to misuse it.

To say I was offended would be an understatement. I didn't give a tithe either. Apparently it's worthless to the God she serves so why should I? Not to mention God is up there looking down on me for marrying outside of my race.

Clearly this woman is racist and while she hasn't spoiled me on the church completely, she has caused me to avoid that church. I simply have no interest in hearing someone's hate spiel that they've plastered God's title on.

10 comments:

  1. Sometimes it is just necessary to avoid churches like that, especially when you just don't feel comfortable or have the conviction and knowledge to rebuke such hateful an misguided people. However, I will give you my favorite trump-card for those attempting to uphold Old Testament law in New Testament times: We live under a new covenant with the Lord through Jesus Christ. Old Testament law is no longer binding. In fact, the New Testament says specifically that anyone keeping to even one old law, must keep ALL of them and in fact will be judged according to the old law should they do so. Next time you see her, tell her she better put down that pork chop, cover her hair, and go ask her husband to prepare a sacrifice to purify her family from her sins. And by-the-way, NO ELECTRICITY ON SATURDAYS!

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  2. People just love to use religion to further their own personal prejudices.

    The Hebrews were not supposed to intermarry because the whole POINT of the Old Testament is the creation of the Hebrew nation and Jewish race - those people who followed Yahweh as God, instead of any of the other gods of the neighboring tribes.

    Jesus came about at a much later time and his followers were more interesting in spreading his teachings instead of racial purity (a lesson it seems some people have not learned even 2000 years later.) The whole "unequally yoked" thing was about finding someone who did not believe the same as you, not about someone from a different culture. As you mentioned, the New Testament shows that Christianity was pretty liberal as far as race mixing went for its day. 

    But I guess we all make God in our image and I want nothing to do with people who will look down on me because I happened to marry someone from the other side of the world; even more so if they want to beat me over the head with their religious book to prove it.

    I'm not as forgiving as you are when it comes to the transgressions of Christians and Christianity in general, and if God is as these people say he is, then I simply cannot see how such a god is worth worshipping.

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  3. The last time I attended a Christian church service was with my best friend's parents in Florida in 2010. It had been about 10 yrs since I'd been to a Christian service of any sort. 
    Anyhow, my best friend's mom introduced me to the pastor after the service- "This is Bibi and she lives in India." 
    The pastor replied- "India, really? Are you a missionary?"
    I replied- "No, I am not."
    The pastor said- "Oh." and quickly turned around and walked away.
    I'm pretty sure by his reaction I was snubbed. My friend's mom was embarrassed & stood there with her mouth open. 
    How's that for the leader of the flock?
    Seriously, I think that church should've taken some of that tithe $$$ & sent Mr Pastor to charm school.

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  4. You're right, religion is widely misused. It's nice I know enough about the bible to know when someone is BSing or using it in the wrong way like that woman did. I just couldn't believe the blatant audacity. She was even called out by another member and picked an argument. I've seen far too much go on inside of churches to ever really trust them again.

    You also make a great point about race mixing. There were so many specifically mentioned interracial marriages in the bible. Most of them are mentioned as being good in some way. Yet, here we are now with racists preaching how wrong it is. They contradict their own supposed beliefs.

    I won't apologize to anyone for my relationship because I'm not sorry. My Hindu man is 1000% better than any Christian man I've ever met and 10,000% better than any American man I've met. I know there's good Americans and good Christians out there, I just haven't met them. And besides that, my Hindu man follows more of the Godly principles of the Christian religion than any other Christian I've met as well. He has them all beat.

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  5. Wow, that was very rude. I get the same question too ("are you a missionary"). A couple of people have been intrigued when I said no and questioned further. A few people in the church have even avoided talking to me. You would think out of respect for my mother (who is very active in the church) they would at least come up and say hello but they don't.

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  6. 'Yet, here we are now with racists preaching how wrong it is. They contradict their own supposed beliefs.'Ain't that the truth.
    I went to Christian high school so I can quote the Bible very well also. It states clearly in Galatians 3:28-
    'There is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.'
    Also in Colossians 3:11-
    'a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, save and free man, but Christ is all, and in all.'

    Seems clear enough to me. 

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  7. Hi, I'm a new reader. Ah well, as you mentioned, she was from a small town and did not get the opportunity of a world view! I don't begrudge people their prejudices as long as they don't foist them on me!

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  8. I don't normally judge people either. I really feel like this woman chose that verse to target me. Of course, I could be wrong lol. It sure felt that way and it got me very offended. Glad to have you as a new reader!

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  9. casteism is everyhwere...ita so pathetic that people people foolishly convert to other religions thinking that they let go of their caste issues.....in fact they are worse off!!


    and christianity supposedly preaches equality..not so!!!

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  10. I share your opinion. I find it personally offensive to see people treat other's badly because they think of them as less/lower class. It's disgusting!

    You're right about a lot of Christian churches. They do preach equality but I've experienced first hand when people don't treat each other right. They look down on you for everything in many Christian churches and it's just not right.

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